Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Abundance and Origins: A Thanksgiving Challenge

Thanksgiving, followed by Black Friday, is a time when Americans shamelessly do what we do best: CONSUME. My challenge for everyone this holiday is to pause, think constructively, and formulate an educated decision that you are peace with before making your purchases. This is something I have been working on and improving upon myself. The goal of this exercise is not to shame or overwhelm. Instead you should be working towards self-actualization and self-improvement. Small changes may not change the world, but they may act as a spark to light bigger fires. Here are some questions to consider before you buy.

For Food:

Where were these fruits/ vegetables grown?
What chemicals may have been used?
Were these fruits/ vegetables genetically modified?
How will consumption of this product affect my health?
How will consumption of this product affect my family's health?
Do I know what all of the ingredients in this product are?
Were the farmers that brought me this product compensated fairly?
What was the impact of growing/ harvesting this product on the environment?
Would I have been able to slaughter this animal myself?
How was this animal treated while it was alive?
What was this animal feed?

For Gifts:

Where was this product made?
Who made this product?
Was the person who made this product compensated fairly?
Why do I need it?
Can I make this product myself?
Will this product last?
How has the production of this product impacted the environment?
How were the materials for this product obtained?
Is the person selling me this product being fairly treated/ compensated?
Do I know of any crafts-person/ artist who could make something similar for not much more money?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Raw Cranberry-Pomegranate-Coconut "Cheesecake"

This weekend we had Thanksgiving Part 1, where half of my family was there a little early who can't make it for Thanksgiving Part 2. Part 1 involves more vegans, so I ditched the traditional ideas and made a big tray of fruit and raw nut cheeses, and raw pumpkin soup for my husband and I while everyone else enjoyed the cooked things. I must admit my mothers roasted vegetables smelled and looked beautiful, and I am sure they were delicious, but checking the scale at my parents house I have now lost 30 pounds, without ever going hungry. So as wonderful as my mother's cooking is, I decided to stay on my raw path! For dessert I made this cheesecake in a large spring-form pan, and it seemed to go over well! Hope it inspires someone for their holiday!


1 1/2 cups brazil nuts
1 1/3 cups raisins
4 dates, pitted
1 teaspoon nutmeg
dash of pink Himalayan salt


1/2 cup of fresh cranberries
1 pomegranate
meat from 2 young coconuts
1/4 cup coconut water
1/2 a lemon, juiced
1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts
2 tablespoon coconut butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, honey, coconut nectar, agave)
1 teaspoon vanilla


1/3 cup of dried coconut flakes

Combine all crust ingredients in a food processor and blend into a dough-like texture.Line the bottom of your spring-form pan with a thin layer. Run the cranberries and pomegranate through a juicer. In a blender combine the juice with the remainder of the filling ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour the filling into the spring-form pan. Smooth the top with a spatula, then move the pan from side to side to make the top completely even. Put the pan in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Grind coconut flakes in a spice grinder. Remove pan from refrigerator, open the spring-form carefully and sprinkle with coconut flakes. Serve in small slices. Enjoy!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Raw Frosted Cranberry Crumb Cake

In all honesty I am a sucker for holiday themed food. Something about those specific flavors makes me feel cozy and loved, as ridiculous as that sounds. I made these for my husband last night and he said it reminded him of something his mother used to make. It is nice to still conjure up those fuzzy feeling even if our diet has become something very different. This recipe is something I think everyone in the family could enjoy, no matter what their diet!


1 cup walnuts (soaked roughly 4 hours)
1/2 cup raisins
3 dates, pitted
1 teaspoon coconut butter
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Cranberry Filling

3/4 cup frozen cranberries (if you use fresh you may need to add a bit of water)
2 tablespoons liquid sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, coconut nectar, honey, or agave)


1/3 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon liquid sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, coconut nectar, honey, or agave)
1 teaspoon vanilla

 Mix all crust ingredients in a food processor until dough-like. Line the bottom of a spring-form pan with the crust mixture. Rinse out the food processor and blend the cranberry filling ingredients to a chunky mixture. This will be your second layer. In a pan, at the lowest setting on your stove, warm the frosting ingredients just to the point of melting and turn off. (If you are concerned about over-heating you can also put these in a bowl and submerge the bowl in hot water until melted.) Stir evenly and pour frosting mixture as your top layer. Place your spring-form pan in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to set.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sprouted Lentil- Apple Burger with Raw Ketchup

Burgers and ketchup... can it get more Standard American Diet than that? Here is my raw food version of fast food. It wasn't fast, but it certainly was easy!


1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, hydrated
2 dates, pitted
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
Celtic sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and blend until smooth. Add a bit more water, if needed.


2 cups sprouted lentils
1 1/2 cups apple pulp (leftover from juicing)
1/4 red onion
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
Celtic sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Once desired texture is reached, scoop into small balls and shape into burger patty shapes. Place in the dehydrator at 108 degrees for 8 to 10 hours. Get creative with your wrap and toppings! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Different Diets on Thanksgiving

Holidays are tricky. Family is one of the biggest influences when it comes to food... especially parents who were raised in a generation of very different food ideologies. When I became a vegetarian at the age of seven, I experienced the fear that grips well-meaning adults about diet. The ever familiar, "Where will you get your protein?" was a common question, as was the statement from more distant relatives of, "It is only a phase." I was considered picky, although I would eat just about anything that wasn't meat. While there was a great concern about my protein (which resulted in lots of cheese, beans and tofu), there ought to have been more focus on me eating enough vegetables instead of dairy-heavy carbs. The point is that my family had genuine concern for my well-being. If I had been older or more self-responsible I may have been better at directing this concern.

Now that I have been eating raw foods these past few months, holiday gatherings are reminiscent of what it was to be a vegetarian child in the eighties. So I came up with a few survival tips, which should be helpful for any diet which may be different from the rest of your family.

1. Educate. We live in an amazing information era. In the eighties I wouldn't have been able to address someone's concerns of my diet by instantly pulling up articles on the health benefits of avoiding factory farmed meat on my smart phone, but now that's a synch! Make sure you are discussing these topics non-emotionally, and are not attacking someone else's diet. Remember, the best way to lead is by example. If someone notices you are healthier as you are explaining your diet, it may make it easier. Also, listen to your family members as well! Everyone has areas they can improve upon. Maybe if Aunt Gladys read an article about how important B-12 is, it is worth monitoring your intake too. Just make sure you do your research!

2. Prepare. Do NOT expect to be catered to. Just because veganism has blown up in your metropolis does not mean everyone on the country farm is cooking that way too... especially if you have gone raw! Make enough food for your own complete meal, or at least bring a ton of snacks. Even if Uncle Joe has assured you there will be a huge salad you can eat, you might get there to find out it is covered in bacon or ranch dressing. Make sure you bring enough to share too. Just because you have a different diet doesn't mean other people won't want to try what you are having!

3. Communicate. If you want to avoid hurt feelings let your family know right away that it isn't THEM, it's YOU. Your decision, your diet. Explain what your diet means and why you are eating that way. Reassure them that it is not a critique of their cooking, but a lifestyle change you have adopted for yourself. Your family might even surprise you... nowadays raw vegan items are popping up at Target and Safeway. Instead of being "that weird diet", your family might see some kale chips or raw truffles and buy them up thinking of you!

4. Let go. Just a tiny bit. Okay, obviously you need to know your limits, but you cousin figured out how to make nut cheese, but the nuts weren't truly raw? Eat it. Your mother-in-law made a salad but the lettuce wasn't organic? Eat it. Your dad cooks a large steak... no, I am just kidding. You don't have to do that obviously, but be just a little flexible. The point of your diet is to be healthier and create a better environment. Don't you think it is worth the mental health of your family and the saneness of your home environment just to let the little stuff go?

5. Love. Love your family, despite your differences. Love the earth that blessed you with a gorgeous bounty of fruits and vegetables. Cook with this love, not the stress of making things perfect, just making things good and wholesome.

Oh, and as a back up plan, bring enzymes.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Carrot-Pumpkin Seed Falafel Salad with Dill-Hemp Dressing

Salads are a crucial part of a healthy diet, but the trick is to keep them from being boring. Homemade salad dressing is so easy to make, and not bogged down with the chemicals and artificial flavorings in most store-bought dressings. In the photo I actually used basil in the dressing, which tasted great too, but dill seems to complement the falafel more traditionally.


2 large carrots
1/4 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds (I bought pre-sprouted)
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup red onion
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon coconut aminos
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Celtic sea salt to taste

Chop the carrots and onion. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse, stirring occasionally. Do not over-blend, as you want some of the texture. Roll into small ball shapes and leave on a paper towel or cloth to absorb excess moisture for roughly 15 minutes.


1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/2 a lemon, juiced
small handful of fresh dill
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Blend all ingredients together in a small food processor or blender until smooth.

Additional Ingredients

1 large tomato
1/4 cup red onion
salad mix of your choice (I used a mixed herb blend)

Lay salad mix onto individual plates. Chop tomato and onion and cover salad. Carefully place a few falafel balls on top of salad. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Haters, Health, and Good Food

My blog is close to approaching the 5,000 views point. And like clockwork, out come the trolls. Well, one troll. Under my Raw Pizza Margherita recipe a stranger from the Internet posted, "That doesn't look appetizing at all." I deleted the comment, but it also got me thinking.

Though this was the first negative online critique of my food, it was not the first in the real world. Co-workers are one of the most common sources of criticism. My daily breakfast of a smoothie and a juice (pictured below) have received comments of, "What ARE you drinking?", "That looks disgusting," and "Is that swamp water?" Meanwhile I am silent as they tote bags of McDonald's past my desk.

 My morning breakfast of blueberry-banana smoothie and apple-green juice.

I will be honest, no one drools over smoothies and dehydrated juicer-pulp crackers the same way they do for Papa John's or a McGriddle, because the parasites can't survive off of fruits and veggies alone. Certain food can be an addiction as strong as alcoholism. And it is justified in our culture just as fiercely.

But I LIKE the way my food tastes, as does my husband. Both of us are making plans to go shopping for pants this weekend, because the old pairs are falling off us! Sure, my pizza might not look great to one stranger on the Internet, but to my family it tastes great! You know another thing that doesn't look great? Unhealthy obesity. Factory farming. Illness and disease. The boils under my armpits which I had to have lanced which disappeared when I gave up dairy and soy. I know every ingredient that has gone into the food I have been making the past three months, and I feel at peace with that knowledge.

There will be more trolls, because there will be more recipes from me that challenge the conventions of the Standard American Diet. There will be people who cling to the comforts of canola oil and mystery meat that want to call what I am doing weird or gross. But there will also be a rainbow of plants to meet me each morning and not being out of breath when I run up the stairs. There will be exciting new flavors, as well as a chance to live a little longer and watch my son grow. Some of the 5,000 views might recognize that and be inspired to make positive changes in their own lives. So, sorry haters, more recipes to come!

Not the best picture, but these size 10 jeans were too small for me a year ago. They are non-stretch and by the look of it, I need to retire them!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Raw Zucchini-Apple-Basil Bread

File this recipe under "Tastes Better Than It Looks". This is one of my favorite bread replacements so far. I created it with a bunch of my leftovers... apple pulp from the juicer, zucchini scraps, and sprouted chick peas that were on their last day. It is pretty satisfying to be able to use this stuff. To think this delicious bread was made from what I used to put down the garbage disposal! I made a sandwich with it using hemp spread, cucumbers, avocado, tomato, and a little homemade mustard!

1 cup spouted chickpeas (sprouted 2-3 days)
1/2 cup apple pulp (leftover from juicer)
1/2 cup zucchini
1/2 cup flax seeds
1 large handful basil
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
extra water (if needed for blending)
Celtic sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend, stopping to stir occasionally, until an even dough-like texture is reached. If you have trouble blending add a small amount of water. Spread a thin layer onto a dehydrator sheet. Dehydrate at 105 degrees overnight or for roughly 8 hours.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Christmas Wants From a Raw Foodie

This year my family has been purging quite a bit (if you are curious about this, go check out my records for sale at ebay.com/usr/mandymod or my vintage items at etsy.com/shop/WayfairingStranger), so the holidays can seem a little overwhelming. We don't need tons of things and we don't have tons of money to get things for other people (and my husband's side of the family is HUGE!) I thought I would highlight this list of some items that I actually would like, as well as some that any raw food enthusiast would enjoy. I also included some ideas of what to give when money is tight!


1. A Coco Jack. If you get heavily into raw foods, and are lucky enough to live near somewhere that sells them, chances are you are going to buy a TON of coconuts! They are the magical raw vegan food, perfect for smoothies, pies, custards, jerky, creams, and other possibilities I haven't even gotten to fully explore yet! The problem is, how do you get all the good meat out without chopping off a finger, throwing the coconut through the wall in frustration, or breaking the kitchen disposal with a misplaced wood chip? (Luckily I have only done number 3, but the other 2 could happen any day..) If I had a Coco Jack, all these troubles could be over! Check out their website to see how it works! http://www.coco-jack.com/

2. Matcha Powder. Okay, so matcha is high in antioxidants. It detoxifies. It calms. It enhances mood. It is high in fiber. It boosts metabolism. And it is a really pretty shade of green that goes great in raw desserts. It isn't cheap, so I keep putting off buying it. http://www.matchasource.com/buy-matcha-tea-s/1.htm

3. Membership to "The Rawtarian's Kitchen". This has got to be one of the hardest working lady's in the raw food movement. And you can have access to her ebooks for just $4.99 for the first month till November 17th! That is a pretty amazing deal! http://www.therawtarian.com/store/membership#welcome

4. Enrollment in Matthew Kenney's Online Plant-Based Culinary Education. This man is the gourmet guru of raw food. Pure genius. Every plate he puts out makes me excited, not only by thinking about the flavors, but thinking that human beings might actually be evolving. I have no idea what his courses cost, but I am sure they are worth it. http://www.matthewkenneycuisine.com/education/online

5. Cooking Molds. Really, I have discovered through this process that there are never enough molds. I need small quirky shapes for chocolates. I need medium spring-form ones for cheeses. I need large spring-form ones for pies. Not to mention flavored ice cubes, popsicles, patties, and cookie shapes for the dehydrator. I need them all! And even if I don't, I can always pass the unused ones on to my husband for making orgonite.


-kombucha starter kits
-nut milk bags
-sprouting jars
-spice grinders
-julienne peelers
-high-speed blenders
-food processors


1. Homemade Teas. I harvested the last of our herbs of the season, and dehydrated everything. We had a LOT of lemon balm and a fair amount of mint. I found an etsy shop that sells organic cloth tea bags in bulk and wa-la! Add a few special flavorings to make it special and you are done! I added some rosehips and rose petals to one batch and nasturtium and dandelion to another. (I mean, dandelion is free, people!)

2. Homemade Salt Mixes. I also dried rosemary, parsley, basil, sage, dill, and oregano. Since we have been getting a good deal on pink Himalayan salt in bulk, I just added the herbs to some of this! The hardest part here was finding the containers! Use a spice grinder in you want a finer texture.

3. Raw Cookies and Truffles. There are a million recipes for this stuff out there, and if you find a good one it won't matter whether the person eating it is a raw food enthusiast or not. Everyone love treats!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Raw Pizza Margherita

More than any cravings I have had since going raw I have craved PIZZA. Not gross, cheap chain restaurant pizza, but the thin, flatbread goodness with quality ingredients. There are a lot of raw vegan pizza recipes out there. Most of them are loaded with vegetable goodness, and that is great, but sometimes I just want a the flavors of a Margherita pizza. Pure and simple, but with a healthy edge. This recipe fits the bill, and just makes Friday nights more fun!


1/2 head cauliflower
1 cup apple pulp (leftover from the juicer, or else use 1 apple instead)
1/2 cup golden flax seeds
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (hydrated)
1/4 cup red onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coconut aminos
small handful of fresh mixed herbs (parsley, basil, and oregano)
Celtic sea salt to taste (be generous)

Grind flax seeds to a powder using a spice grinder. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a dough-like consistency is reached. You will need to stop and stir the mixture several times until this is achieved. Scoop out mixture onto dehydrator screen and smooth into a thin, even layer. With a knife or pizza cutter, score lines where slices will be separated. Allow to dehydrate at 105 degrees for roughly 8-10 hours.


1 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon truffle oil
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a small food processor until smooth.


1/2 cup fresh tomato
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (hydrated)
1/4 cup red onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
small handful of fresh mixed herbs (parsley, basil, and oregano)
Celtic sea salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a small food processor until desired consistency is reached.

Additional Items

1 tomato
handful of fresh basil
dash red pepper flakes

Slice tomato and coarsely chop basil. Separate pizza slices and place on a plate. Spoon sauce and cheese onto crust and top with tomato, basil, and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cranberry Tangerine Coconut Pudding with Pumpkin Seed Crumble

Here is a sneak peak into the holiday spirit! Though it may look like any old simple pudding, cranberries are very potent and their proanthocyanidins remove bad bacteria from your stomach and urinary tract lining (which is why they have been recommended for people with UTI). This pudding can also be pretty bitter, so if you can't handle it add some more sweetener or throw in a couple of grapes!


1 cup cranberries
meat from 1 young coconut
2 tangerines, peeled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon almond milk
2 teaspoons coconut butter
2 tablespoons sweetener of choice (maple syrup, agave, honey or coconut nectar)


1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, sprouted
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle of bee pollen (optional)

Put all pudding ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. In a spice grinder or small food processor combine the crumble ingredients and blend into a powder. Serve pudding in a bowl or glass and top with crumble. Garnish with extra tangerine, if you desire.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cinnamon Goji Fire Balls

Here is the treat for the raw foodist whose favorite candy was Red Hots! Spicy, but cinnamon spicy, which is a very different kind of heat than peppers. Basically I love any treat in ball form, because it is easy to eat and you can portion them out as you like.

1/2 cup goji berries, soaked
1/4 cup brazil nuts
1/2 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds (bought pre-sprouted)
4 dates, pitted
2 dried apricots
1 tablespoon coconut butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
additional cinnamon to roll

Drain goji berries. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend into a dough-like consistency. Roll into small ball shapes and allow to sit on a paper towel or cloth to absorb excess moisture for roughly 15 minutes. Coat a plate or cutting board with a thin layer of cinnamon and roll balls until completely covered. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Coconut Curry Lime Kale Chips

I know, kale chip recipes aren't that exciting for a recipe blog, are they? I mean, kale chips are kind of the gateway drug into raw food. But after I went up to bed last night my husband told me that the cat had jumped on the counter and was hovering over the dehydrator because the smells were that good. That's when I knew it was worth sharing.

1 large bowl of kale
1 tablespoon hemp oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
dash of black pepper
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Combine kale, olive oil, and hemp oil in a large bowl and massage until tender. Add remaining ingredients and mix well so that everything is thoroughly coated. Space out evenly on dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 100 degrees overnight (roughly 8 hours, may require less). Keep your cat away from the dehydrator and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Raw Apple Flax Cinnamon Buns

Sunday mornings call for a bit more than a smoothie sometimes... especially if you have been good and avoided eating any Halloween candy! So here is a sweet raw treat I came up with. Very good, although the recipe is a bit altered to make up for  some errors in my actual attempt (not enough sweetener, not sliced thinly enough, and not dehydrated long enough originally!) Enjoy!


1 cup of almond pulp (leftover from making almond milk)
3/4 cup golden flax
1 apple (I used Fuji)
1 tablespoon liquid sweetener (honey, maple syrup, agave, or coconut nectar)
1 tablespoon almond milk
dash of cinnamon
dash of pink Himalayan salt


6 dates, pitted
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon all spice
2 tablespoons water


1/3 cup coconut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon liquid sweetener (honey, maple syrup, agave, or coconut nectar)

Grind flax in a spice grinder into a flour. Combine all dough ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth (you will need to stop and stir occasionally). Once you have reached a dough-like consistency, smooth out into long strips (recommended thinner than shown) on your dehydrator tray. Strips should be roughly 1/2 inch thick. Dehydrate for 2 hours at 105 degrees. Flip over and dehydrate for an additional hour. Remove the strips and lay on a cutting board. In a food processor combine all filling ingredients and blend until smooth. On the topside of each dough strip coat with the cinnamon filling mixture. Starting at one end curl the dough into a spiral. Dehydrate buns at 105 degrees for an additional 2 hours. In a pan, heat the coconut butter just to the point of melting and turn off. Add vanilla and sweetener and mix well. Transfer the buns to a plate and drizzle with the icing mixture. Place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes for the frosting to harden. Goes well with hot tea or dandy blend.